The biggest threat to agile is bad agile. Bad agile comes from misunderstanding. This session will look at how misunderstanding can alienate people.


We can encounter bad agile in many places. Bad agile comes from misunderstanding. Misunderstanding itself can come from many sources: maybe it's a dogmatic ScrumMaster, agile coach or even team member; maybe it's from executives or customers who thing agile is a silver bullet that will fix all their problems. Regardless of where it comes from, this misunderstanding which leads to bad agile invariably results in agile getting a bad name - maybe even meaning agile gets blamed when things don't go well.

I encounter this misunderstanding almost every working day of my life when people tell me that agile/scrum means that you can change it to fit your current organisation "because that's what agile means". Often it is caused by people who have just read a book or two about agile/Scrum/XP etc or maybe worked on one team and then think they understand it well enough, sometimes to immediately become an agile coach or ScrumMaster themselves.

If agile is to survive, and even prosper, we need to address this misunderstanding that results in bad agile.

This session will take a (hopefully) humorous look at how bad practice caused by misunderstanding can lead to an approach being discredited and even shunned and disregarded

Learning Objectives

This session should provide a more focussed understanding of how to identify bad agile and an understanding of the potential impact of not challenging and addressing bad agile wherever it is encountered. Hopefully this will also be a call to action to people to actively study and enhance their own understanding so that they can better help others.

Format: Talk (60 minutes)

Speaker Biography

Iain is an award winning trainer, coach and practitioner who has successfully used Scrum together with other agile and lean frameworks over a number of years both in project recovery and greenfield projects. Iain has also been extremely successful in helping many organisations adopt or improve their use of Scrum including United Health, BBC, Cisco and BSkyB.

Having worked with IT for over 35 years, Iain has a wealth of experience ranging from operations, analysis, testing, software engineering, project and programme mamagement through to IT Leadership. Iain has also been a customer and user of many software products over the years. This breadth of experience helps Iain to work with teams to build high quality products that meet the needs of all stakeholders, often exceeding expectations through innovation and focus on value and eliminating waste.

Iain has spoken about Scrum and agile at a number of international conferences including Global Scrum Gatherings and the Agile Business Conference. Iain co-chaired the Global Scrum Gathering in Dublin last year.